Researchers at the University of California in Los Angeles are working on new batteries that can be printed onto a surface with "nanotube ink":
The batteries were created by George Gruner and colleagues at the University of California in Los Angeles, US, and use the same zinc-carbon chemistry as ordinary non-rechargeable batteries.
Being able to print flexible batteries onto different surfaces should prove handy for powering disposable devices, such as long-range RFID tags or small displays, the researchers say.
The batteries are made from two layers containing carbon nanotubes and a third layer of zinc foil, and are less than a millimetre thick.
A great many carbon nanotubes can be packed into these layers. They form randomly aligned nanotube networks that conduct charge more efficiently than the metals normally used – connecting many points in the battery simultaneously, without hampering the electrochemical process that generates power.